Sunday, May 15, 2011



Lea Sylvester

Who are we and who can we be in the Lord? Our world is changing, very rapidly. People have moved away from denominational loyalty toward churches driven by programs and outside activities. We have moved away a society where people had porches and sat outside,
they talked to their neighbors. We are now a society where we build back decks and privacy fences. We've moved away from a society where where our family doctor would come to our house with a little black bag. Now we go to a "doc in a box" where the doctor doesn't even know us.

We've moved away from the time when people have an inter-relationship with one another to one where there's email instead of postal mail. We can shop without talking to anyone else. We are in an economy where people may be forced to work during church activities. We are a generation that can have a meal in under 60 sec. We have media and technological advances, yet
all of this made us think we would have more time for family. And more time for friends, faith and fun, yet this has given us less time. There are more gadgets for us to put our hands on and less people to talk to.

We are in such a media-generated age that it is unusual to go sit and listen to a man speak in person. Visions of a utopian society are all around us. We had a pre-election promise from our current president; he told us there was going to be change - real change. This promise has fallen flat on America today.

Unemployment is actually in double digits. One in three homes are foreclosed or walked away from today. The national debt is $14.3 Trillion. Can we actually wrap our minds around this? America is in big trouble, our world is in big trouble.

Our grandchildren have no chance of recovery at this pace. We are being lied to, day in and day out. We don't need more spending, we need someone to put the brakes on. The change we have been handed is convoluted and takes away hope, takes away chances of recovery. Your government will not give you good news.

A dictator is a country with one ruler. We have two: the Democratic or the Republican Party. Government is not going to save us. No one can give us a vision for our family or for our future. We have to find our vision from someone else. Only God can point us to a powerful exciting beneficial future only He can give us a vision of life. I wish we had some politicians who had the guts to stand up and say I've got the answer and it is Jesus! He is the ONLY one who can
give us vision, who can give us life. He can give us life and give it more abundantly. He promised us this.

We are living in the last days. You would have to be a mouse in church in a closet not to to know we are living in the last days. It doesn't take a genius to realize what Jesus said in Matthew 24. All one must to do is go back and read the records of the number of earthquakes in our lifetime and the increase in them. We see wars and rumors of wars, look at what is happening in in NE Africa, the Middle East. Nations are literally tumbling. We have a type of antichrist in Ahmadinejad who  believes the 12th Imam is coming. He takes his budgets where he believes the Imam is (a well) and he actually throws his budget in the well.

You have to have vision and you must know that God has a purpose for us in life. Our careers will not give us our purpose in life. Having a big house is not going to give you a purpose in life, having a 100k car is not going to give you a purpose in life, if that was the truth then everybody with a big house would be satisfied and they are not. We are watching things crumble around us.

In Matthew Chapter 24, Jesus gives us the signs of the end. In verse 32 He tells us, "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh." You don't have to wait until 2012 when the planets are to align and the earth is supposed to go through some cosmic adjustment. Jesus Christ can come back at any time!
It is the imminent return of Christ, it is the last promise for the church. Paul said "wherefore comfort one another with these words." I Thess 4:18. Be comforted in this, there is a vision coming to you .Jesus said "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift your heads for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28

But what will you do today and tomorrow? This is the church's finest hour. Our hearts should be burning with anticipation. We as Christians today need a sustained vision: for our spouses, our children, loved ones, our families, our communities. We as a nation need a vision, a hope for our marriages and for our personal lives. We need to press forward as never before. We are living in a time when God is about to fulfill a vision of His people.

About 350 years ago, a ship load of people; after traveling 3,000 miles at sea, landed at the Northeastern coast of America. That first year they cut huge swaths of forest, built houses and a small town. The next year they elected a town government, the next year the government tried to build a road five miles into the wilderness, the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of their government funds to build a road five miles westward. Who needed to go there anyway? Here are the very same people who had the vision to see 3,000 miles across the ocean, and overcome great hardships; but in just a few years, but they were not even able to see five miles down the road.

We're living in a nation that was founded upon the backs of those that would cross the oceans, of men and women who wanted to live in freedom and faced great perils to get here and to survive. And whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or not, this country was founded upon Godly principles. We are a Judeo-Christian Nation. You never hear it anymore, but God has a manifest destiny for America. He has a manifest destiny for you and we must take our vision and extend it down the road. We have to believe that God has us here for a purpose.

Then there's the story of David Livingston. Livingston single-handedly explored almost all of Africa. A missionary society wrote and asked if he had found any good roads. They said, if he had, they wanted to send some missionaries. Livingston wrote back and said that if they “... had men who would come only if there's a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if they know there is no road at all.”

As Children of God, we are born to be people of vision. We have the vision to grasp beyond what we see, what may be problems, to reach the unreachable, to believe the unbelievable. As Children of God, we have the ability to think the unthinkable, chart the unchartable, to venture into the unknown, no matter what the current economic situation may be, with a vision we know what can be for our lives. We must carry this for our families and spiritually we can reach out and grab that vision. We know God is going to take care of us.

God knew who we were before we were ever formed. Did you know that? You are not your own. The Bible says you were bought with a price. God knows what is intended for you. He knows the plans and the purpose He has for you. In Jeremiah, He says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

God knows where you are headed. You can't listen to your neighbors, the naysayers nor the news. You can't even believe yourself sometimes. You must hear the vision right from God's mouth.

We must believe God's vision can be a reality in our lives. Proverbs 29:18 tells us “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” If that is true, and it is, then this must also be true: where there is vision, my people live.

Jesus said, “ … I came to give life and give it more abundantly.” With this verse many incorrectly teach that Jesus came to give life, not just ordinary existence, but life in fullness, abundance, and prosperity in this world.

There is a great problem with this perspective. First, let's take a look at the word "life". In the Greek it is "Zoe" (S# 2222) referring to the principle of life in the spirit and soul. Distinguished from "bios" (S# 979), which refers to duration, means, and manner of life.
So we find that the life (Zoe) that Jesus referred to are the things of the spirit, the things which are not seen. Not the things of the flesh or of the world which are seen. Jesus here is talking about eternal life, not about having good things on this earth.

Here is what many in America are missing today:

  1. Vision starts on the mountain: We see in Mark 9:1 “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” 2. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 9:3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 9:4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 9:5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 9:6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 9:7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 9:8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 9:9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. 9:10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. 9:11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.

Don't miss that phrase, “high mountains. It is significant. God cares how we are doing. We have to see far distances, we must ask the Lord what it is He wants to do with us, or for us to do for Him.

We can't dwell on the problems that will and surely do come our way. The Bible says death and life are in the power of the tongue. Get on that mountain and say God has a future for me! We can't dwell on the problems that will and surely do come our way. The Bible says death and life are in the power of the tongue. Get up on that mountain and say God has a future for me!

We can look at Joshua and see how a vision can influence our lives. “The the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt; but I wholly followed the Lord my God.” Joshua 14:6-8

Here, Caleb is some forty years after they had climbed a mountain and had seen Israel – they had seen the promised land! Caleb is 85 years old, yet he burned to return to that mountain. Talk about holding onto a dream! Here he is, 85 years old, he remembers a promise God gave to him. He saw Israel. Although Caleb is 85, he is just as strong as he was when he was 40. For forty years, he carried that vision.

Back 45 years earlier, Moses had sent men to spy on the land of Canaan. “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.” Numbers 13:6-8 Caleb was from the tribe of Judah. “And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:” Numbers 13:17

Twelve went up into the mountains, ten gave a bad report to Moses. We don't know who they were, but we remember the ones who do things; the ones who told the truth. By the way, from Mt. Hebron (which is the mountain which they climbed), on a clear day one can see 250 miles.

Caleb, with eleven others, summitted that mountain, looking down at the spot that is the promised land. He is standing on the mountain. Others with him were afraid, Caleb realizes where he is, what his ancestors only dreamed of, he was seeing.

Caleb never asks for anything more than where he's standing. All he wants is to get back to Mt. Hebron. We know what Caleb said because it is recorded, “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said.” Joshua 14:12-13 For forty-five years, he dreamed of Hebron, of once again standing where he had been.

We know from Mark Chapter 9, verses 3 and 4 about the transfiguration of Jesus Christ. “And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.”

Why did Jesus show Peter, James and John Elisha and Moses. Because Moses represented the Law and Elisha represented the prophets. Jesus is saying here, I am the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.

Jesus took them to the mountain to show them the promises of God, that there was a day coming when the mountain would be theirs. There would be a new Canaan and a new heaven and that he was the Messiah. So He took them up.

Visions start upon the mountain, but they aren't meant to be a one-time, “let's camp-out here” sort of experience. “And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.” Mark 9:5-6.

Peter was an “A type” personality on steriods. Whenever there was a lull in the conversation, he has to say something and it makes him nervous. So, he made the statement referred to above.
They could see further than worldly things and problems. They did so that they would want to get back there.

Our vision needs to be overwhelming today. God has us here at this time for a reason. God has plans for us. Is the zeal burning in your heart as it once was? Put yourself in a position to let God use His plan for your life. Trust in the Lord in these last days.

The vision is on the mountain but the victory is in the valley. In the transfiguration, we see that the disciples wanted to stay. They, like us, fear losing what we have. Jesus wants us to see the whole picture. God has a 3-D image of our life. He has something for us. He has His vision for us.

We must understand that what we see for our future upon the mountain must first be possessed in the valley of our present. Vision isn't just a catchy Christian word. For 45 years, Caleb waited. He never got tired, he never gave up. We must not give up. This is our hour. Be strong, soon we will return to the mountain.

I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:1-3

We are told in Mark 9 that Jesus discussed the resurrection with the disciples following the event on the mountain. What do your relationships need? It all evolves upon Jesus rising from the dead. Jesus opened eternity for us. He is the key. No weapon formed against us shall prosper. If God be for us, who can be against us?

Vision brings commitment. God is calling us to be a light wherever we are. Be committed wherever you are. Be committed to family. Have your priorities in order: 1. God 2. Family 3. Ministry 4. Your Job in the world.

Society wants us to be “ho-hum” normal but we aren't ho-hum normal. Advance and conquer for the cause of Jesus Christ before we return to our mountain.

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